The Squier bass, which has evolved through many styles and designs over the last few decades, is known globally for its quality sound and affordable price. Although the Squier brand is owned now by Fender, the company has an intriguing history that shares similarities with the immigrant's rags-to-riches story of Martin Guitar.
Squier Bass Timeline
The history behind the Squier bass is entwined with the history of the modern guitar and Fender. A young English immigrant name Jerome Bonaparte "J.B." Squier came to America in the 19th century and began building violins.
- 1881: Squier moves to Boston and begins building and repairing violins. His reputation grows to such a height that he is known as the "American Stradivarius." (Fun fact: to this day these Squier-made violins are known for their exceptional artisanship and sell for very high prices in auctions.)
- 1900: Squier begins making his own handwound violin strings and eventually adds guitar and banjo strings to his product line, which are in-demand across the nation, especially among students because Squier sells them at such affordable prices.
- 1930s: The Squier company begins making strings for the new electronic instruments that begin to appear on the market.
- 1950s: A Southern California by the name of Leo Fender approaches Squier for help making strings for his revolutionary new product: the Fender Precision bass guitar. Squier agrees, and the partnership between Squier and Fender begins.
- 1964: The V. C. Squier Company becomes an official equipment manufacturer for Fender.
- 1965: Fender buys the Squier Company.
- 1970s: The Squier strings has its name and logo replaced by Fender's brand.
- Early 1980s: In response to the massive wave of Japanese Fender bass and electric guitar "clones" made by Japanese companies, Fender brings back the Squier brand name and assigns it to its own more affordable "clones" of Fender legendary bass guitars. Fender begins exporting these new Squiers from Japan to compete with the Japanese companies. This births the Squier bass era that is still going strong today.
Squier has become a vibrant, high quality but affordable guitar and bass maker that has allowed millions of musicians start their playing careers with nice guitars without breaking the bank. The following represent some of Squier's best offerings on the market today.
The Affinity Series Precision Bass
The Precision Bass from the Affinity series is known as the "world's best selling bass" because of its affordability and close imitation of the original Fender bass that started the electric bass revolution in the 1950s. This bass is known for its ability to adapt to any musical style and how comfortable it is to play.
Squier sells their Precision bass in a combination pack with a Fender amp for about $300.
Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass Special SS (Short Scale)
From the beginning of Squier when it made affordable strings for students in the late 1800s, the brand has been popular for first-time musicians. It's no wonder Squier has a short scale guitar designed for younger players just starting out. The short scale Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass Special SS has a 30 inch maple neck, 20 frets, and a compact size packed with the smooth, famous vintage Fender Jaguar sound.
Squier sells the Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass Special SS for an affordable price at about $200.
Classic Vibe Precision Bass '50s
Squier's Classic Vibe series begins with the Classic Vibe Precision Bass 50's, an elegant imitation of the original Precision that some say made rock and roll possible. The bass has a Butterscotch Blonde color, a vintage-style single coil pickup and a maple neck.
You can have this blast from the past in your own collection for about $400.
Classic Vibe Precision Bass '70s
The second Classic Vibe model jumps straight into the adventurous '70s with its sleek black color, bold body and pickup shape, and a split-single-coil pickup that captures the big rock bass sound of the '70s.
You can purchase this Classic Vibe model for about $400.
Affinity Series Jazz Bass
One of the most popular Squier pieces is the Jazz Bass, which is a part of their ongoing Affinity series. The bass guitar is known for its smooth, warm sound, quality rosewood fingerboard, two single coil pickups, and top-loaded bridge.
You can pick up a classic Squier Jazz Bass and get a Fender amp thrown in when you purchase a combo deal for about $300.
Vintage Modified Jazz Bass '70s Left-Handed
Squier doesn't leave the lefties out of their Jazz Bass experience. The Vintage Modified Jazz Bass '70s Left-Handed, with its Candy Apple Red, Natural, Olympic White, and vintage-tint colors and its classic Fender pickups, brings all the glory of the Squier Jazz model but places it in the mirror image reverse setup made just for lefties.
You can find this vintage-styled beauty for about $350.
Vintage Modified Series Jazz Bass Fretless
The Vintage Modified Jazz Bass Fretless draws on the jazz basses of old, the stand-ups and double basses, and offers a fretless fingerboard that gives the instrument a smooth, distinctive sound that bends and slides through its bass lines. It has the crisp sound of the Fender-designed split single-coil Precision Bass pickup. It also has white inlaid fret lines so that you can track where you are on the fingerboard.
A new Squier fretless runs about $300 at retail stores online.
Deluxe Jazz Bass Active V (5-String)
This five-string jazz bass isn't just a novelty, it's designed to allow maximum tone creativity. Besides the extra string, which adds depth to your bass lines, it has a three-band EQ so you can shape your sound with exquisite detail. It also has a mood-scoop "slap switch" that allows you to change instantly between a modern or vintage sound.
It comes in a three-color sunburst, and it runs for about $380.
Fender's Squier Is a Thrifty Bassist's Best Friend
The Fender-owned Squier brand gives bass players the best of both worlds: the famous Fender sound but with affordable pricing. As Fender continues to develop and diversify its Squier brand--a legacy of excellence that has been around since the late 1800s--you will likely have many more superb Squier bass models to look forward to in the years to come.